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AKEL’s proposal for the city and district of Limassol

Press conference of the General Secretary of AKEL S.Stefanou on the subject: Housing policy – Affordable housing

30 May 2023, PASYDY Limassol

It is no coincidence that as part of our campaign for housing we have come back to Limassol. It is a recognition of the fact that in Limassol the pressing problem of housing affordability and homeownership, either privately owned or rented, is much more pronounced than in the rest of Cyprus…

In Limassol the situation is extremely difficult. According to Eurostat data, property prices and rents have been skyrocketing rapidly and persistently since 2015. We note the observation made by the European Statistical Office that the management of the so-called ‘Cyprus investment programme’, which the previous DISY government turned into a tool for the “golden passport” looting scheme, has been a crucial factor for this problem.

In addition to this, the pandemic crisis, but also later the war in Ukraine, further exacerbated the whole situation, so that today access to affordable and quality housing in Limassol, but also in Cyprus in general, is extremely limited. Contributing to this, of course, was the fact that the DISY government, in its ten years of governance, never actually invested substantially in socially-oriented housing policies and the housing schemes it had inherited [elaborated and promoted by the Christofias government] were left to falter. Housing policy was simply not among the Anastasiades-DISY government’s priorities.

The majority of Cypriot society, especially the younger generation today, is unable to do what in previous years was once considered almost self-evident and taken for granted: owning their own homes. Soaring prices, increasing interest rates, rising costs of construction materials, whilst wages remain stagnant have all made homeownership an elusive dream for many.

The demand for decent housing is high, but the supply is low, and the conditions for housing finance are inaccessible and unaffordable for a very significant section of society.

Moreover, the increase in the number of students in Limassol, about whom particular mention has been made in the past period has further compounded the problem.

There is therefore a need for the elaboration of a comprehensive housing policy by the government with a strategic focus on assisting the lower and middle strata, young couples and the vulnerable groups of the population to acquiring housing. A well-structured and inclusive policy that addresses the problems and needs that exist today is needed.

Towards this end, AKEL has tabled specific and feasible proposals for housing, particularly in relation to Limassol. We have formulated specific proposals that can provide solutions to the huge problem in Limassol, where a massive housing problem has emerged. However, their implementation depends not only on the government demonstrating the political will to do so, but also on the initiation of collaboration between the central government and local authorities to address these challenges.

As far as Limassol is concerned, AKEL proposes the following:

  1. Coordination among all relevant stakeholders, namely the government, the Housing Finance Corporation and the Limassol Municipality for the construction of 600 residencies in the Agios Nikolaos and Agiou Ioannis areas.
  2. Utilization of state-owned land beyond the already allocated area in the Veregaria Settlement in Kato Polemidia with the cooperation of the State, local authorities and the Housing Finance Corporation.
  3. Speedy promotion, without delays, of the construction of 500 student dormitories in the Veregaria Settlement in Polemidia. According to the timeframes, the Cyprus University of Technology (TEPAK) is ready to commence construction by 2024.
  4. In our research we found that in the wider Limassol region, there is state-owned land that can be used for affordable housing through social housing schemes.
  5. Utilization of Turkish Cypriot properties which could be granted for maintenance and rehabilitation and for housing refugee people.
  6. Utilization of land in Municipalities, local communities with refugee settlements – self-settlements – government settlements for the construction of housing for refugees.
  7. Provide incentives to landowners to create housing units for low and middle income groups.
  8. Purchase of land plots by the Agency, which will then be included in public-private partnership projects for the construction of affordable housing units in both urban and rural areas.
  9. Adoption of a special lending policy by the Housing Finance Corporation for the purchase of an apartment or house. We believe that the HFC should return to play the social role for which it was established in the early 1980’s. The Agency cannot fulfill the role of a bank.
  10. Utilization of dormant housing buildings in towns and villages (thousands of houses are empty, most of them for years).

The acquisition of housing is a basic right guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus. Access to this right reflects the level of prosperity of any society. We regret to note that in recent years there has been no socially-oriented housing policy, leaving society unprotected in the face of the wave of price inflation, rising rent and property prices. However, we have to admit that the situation has now got out of hand and the State must take concrete and substantial measures.

As the main and most consistent opposition force, AKEL will continue to push in this direction by submitting specific and feasible proposals in order to provide solutions to this major social issue.


AKEL on the "Housing for All" seminar organised by the AKEL delegation and GUE/NGL Group in the European Parliament


Meeting of the General Secretary of AKEL St. Stefanou with the Deputy Minister of Shipping Marina Hadjimanoli